James Rodriguez’s options as Real Madrid outcast heads for exit door

The only thing clear about James Rodriguez’s future is that it will not be at Real Madrid.

With Eden Hazard injured Zinedine Zidane could have done with the Colombia international last Sunday away at Athletic Bilbao but he understood the player when James told him he didn’t want to travel.

‘He is out because he wanted to be out,’ said Zidane. Sources close to James said he was mentally worn-down by constantly being over-looked by the Real Madrid coach and he knew, even without Hazard, he would still only get minutes if Rodrygo Goes, Vinicius, Marco Asensio, Lucas Vazquez and even Gareth Bale had all already been explored as options. Zidane understood the frustration.

The club’s priority is that Rodriguez finds himself a club as soon as possible. He has only featured once since LaLiga returned.

In times of the financial belt tightening, Real Madrid are likely to take what ever they can get for the 29-year-old this summer just to get him off the wage bill in the final year of his contract.

It’s true he has lost his way at Madrid but he is not the first player that that has happened to. He may still have his best years ahead of him at the right club, so Sportsmail asks the big question: which club will that be?

Manchester United
There is interest from the player in making this happen but because United got burned with Alexis Sanchez they are likely to steer clear of cast-offs from LaLiga’s big two for a while.

Bruno Fernandez is younger and better. And it seems unlikely James will end up at Old Trafford.

Wolves
This feels more feasible. Jorge Mendes’ links to Wolves and their greater willingness to move the furniture of the team to accommodate James’ flair make this a possibility.

Madrid’s financial squeeze will see them take a reduced fee so if the Colombian can agree wages with Wolves (and he will have to come down considerably from his £7million) he could be Old Gold before the new season kicks-off.

Atletico Madrid
He could have joined Diego Simone last summer but Atletico thrashed Real Madrid in pre-season and the idea of selling them one of their highest profile players suddenly didn’t seem like such a good idea.

He would still be open to the idea of going to the other side of the city but Atletico’s financial position is such that wages would be a problem. They have also discovered in Marcos Llorente (a player that Real Madrid did let Atletico Madrid buy off them last summer) an attacking midfielder/striker for the next decade. It seems an unlikely switch.

Everton
It’s certainly true that Carlo Ancelotti got a decent tune out of James Rodriguez at Real Madrid and they worked well together at Bayern Munich.

He needs plenty of reinforcements and James would be a statement of intent going into the new season but the price will have to tumble enough to make them join the bidding. James would be top earner at Everton on his current money.

The only way Everton could afford him would be if they did not have to pay a transfer fee. A loan could work. International team-mate Yerry Mina would certainly help him fit in at Goodison.

Juventus
Last season Cristiano Ronaldo seemed to be tugging at the strings to see if he could get his pal to join him in Italy.

Juventus are no longer in a position to make a bold move. So this one seems doomed to disappear under the cloud of post-coronavirus shutdown football.

There has been interest from Napoli in the past too but it looks an unlikely destination this time around.